Magnolia Tour 2012: Everyday Magic, Day 518

Every year, they explode open too fast only to be killed by some midnight frost that comes in mid March. Most years, I tell myself I will stop whatever I’m doing and walk among us, marveling at their color, shape, scent while there’s still time, but then the time evaporates, and I only find pools of fallen petals, browned at the edges.

Not this year, however. Thanks to a non-winter winter and a shockingly early spring (I mean, some redbuds are coming out already!), the magnolia trees are a blaze of pink and white, daintily unfurling all over time. So I took my camera and my feet and headed out yesterday through East Lawrence.

The tulip magnolia as well as others obviously aren’t, or at least weren’t, so suited for Kansas extremes, but I still fell in love with them when I first discovered this extraordinary blossoming tree. I could go on and on about magnolias, but my poem about them speaks most to how I feel and why I love them so much.

Magnolia Tree in Kansas

This is the tree that breaks

into blossom too early each March,

killing its flowers. This is the tree

that hums anyway in its pool of fallen

petals, pink as moonlight. Not a bouquet

on a stick. Not a lost mammal in the clearing

although it looks like both with its explosions

of rosy boats – illuminated, red-edged.

Not a human thing but closer to what we might be

than the careful cedar or snakeskin sycamore.

It cries. It opens. It submits. In the pinnacle

of its stem and the pits of its fruitless fruit,

it knows how a song can break the singer.

In the brass of its wind, it sings anyway.

Tree of all breaking. Tree of all upsidedown.

Tree that hurts in its bones and doesn’t care.

Tree of the first exhalation

landing and swaying, perfume and death,

all arms and no legs. Tree that never

learns to hold back.
















Big Wind, Big Weather: Everyday Magic, Day 513

All night, the big wind blows. At times, the whole house seems to lift a little as the wind finds its way through every slat and crack. The trees are rocked hard, the dirt flies in the distance, and the animals sleep unperturbed.

Living in Kansas means living in big weather: large gestures from the sky as change passes through. Yesterday’s 70+ degrees will be tomorrow’s freezing rain. “Nothing lasts,” the weather seems to sing, shout and whisper, but all the same, I love listening to this wind that surges and drops, halts and powers on again.

While big changes can happen any time, there are months when such happenings accumulate to a screeching point, and March is such a month. Whether it’s lamb or lion, elephant or amoeba, March days and nights turn on a dime. Because of our non-winter winter, this March feels especially volatile. Why, there were tornadoes in February, and we’ve already had one prairie burn and may have another one later this week, a month ahead of schedule. Daffodils are springing upward, not yet blooming thankfully, but I did dream of hyacinth in blossom, large and fragrant in their timelessness. Yet the weather — always the weather — can deep-six anything that bursts forth or just lull along as if the air is always quiet and balmy. We never know.

Natalie walks by and tells me, “It’s getting pretty wild out there, Mom.” Yup, it is, the sky preparing itself for a 40-degree drop later today as it reminds us that it’s pretty wild in here too.

Little Darling, It's Been a Long Cold Lonely Winter: Everyday Magic, Day 283

Turning from 9th Street to walk north on New Hampshire St., I found this sign, which stuck me as truer than true weather. Winter’s not just been long, but relentless this year, at least in the places I traveled: excessive snow and ice in Vermont in April, bitter cold rain just last week in Iowa, and bouts of wintry mixes in Kansas when least expected and most unwelcomed.

Now that it’s spring full-on — blossoms curling up into nothing while the trees leaf out, temperatures in the 70s with a rollicking cialis online risks spring wind, and heat building everything — I feel a little like I’ve just been rescued from being lost in a snowdrift. I mean I love snow, really, but after a while a gal just needs to come in from the cold. Plus, who doesn’t like to be called “Little darling”?

So in celebration of spring, and the daringly wise individual who put this sign out, thank you to all that is unfolding, unfurling, blossoming, feathering out and showing its vibrant warm heart.

Lightning Bolt In Rearview Mirror: Everyday Magic, Day 267

After rushing home with the three boxes of flowers to plant — bought on whim (as always for me each April, inevitably propelled by the promise of a big storm) — and then getting the flowers into the beds around the house and trying unsuccessfully to scrub the dirt out from under my fingernails, I moved quickly through a litany of little errands. The last of these was to drive back to town to pick up Forest, the first big drops of rain hitting the windshield. I turn right onto Hwy. 458, looked ahead, glanced and the rearview mirror, and there it was: a single stand of lightning, pouring down at, well, the speed of light.

I kept driving, but told myself about the storm as well as about the big bright green, alighting on every branch except for those ones heavy with redbud blossom, “See this.” Spring comes at such a heartbreakingly fast pace, and always during a crazy-busy time, that in a glance, it’s suddenly summer. Yet right now, at this moment the next day when the rain brings out the resonant color of all new growth, it’s right here. Don’t miss it.

What IS On My Mind?: The Lunacy of Spring Fever: Everyday Magic, Day 265

Not much evidently. It’s a crisp day interspersed with big wind gusts, heartbreaking bright, pale green all directions, and the explosion of red tulips at 23rd and Massachusetts St., the fields of purple clover, redbud (actually purple) at every edge, and the falling white blossoms of ornamental pears make it hard for me to keep my mind on anything. Of course the convergence of several in-person and on-the-phone meetings, helping my daughter figure out her housing situation in St. Paul, packets arriving from my students, and kitten all over me when I try to work tends to get the better of me too.

Spring fever does, at times unfortunately, cheap cialis uk online really feel like a fever, but then there’s another kind of spring fever, an enlightened mixture of ecstatic poetry, fatigue, big dreams that seems utterly attainable, more fatigue, chocolate as the only thing interesting to eat and a great attraction to pull weeds in a leaf-covered garden bed. That’s what has overtaken me today, and it would be lunacy not to follow the call out to the backyard, chocolate energy bar (aka dinner) in hand while my mind flutters and crashes all around, and the colors brighten and deepen with their spring collage.

Sometimes it’s enough not to hold anything in mind too tightly or too long.